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Old 11-06-2012, 11:21 AM
Steveo Steveo is offline
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Location: Edmonds, WA
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 15
Mein Auto: E46 M3 Convertible - SMG
The E46 designation pertains to the chassis, which may or may not be an M3. The M3 is basically the model designation, and all M3 cars built between 2001 and 2006 will be on the E46 chassis. On line you can locate the required maintenance, known as Inspection 1 or 2, and they're based on mileage. Make sure your seller can document what maintenance and repairs have been done. These are very high performance engines, but they have numerous issues, all of which are documented on this forum and others. If your prospect car still has its original engine, it probably has had all the factory issues repaired. If the engine is not original, you can't know. The E46 chassis is known to have defects in the rear underbody where some suspension parts attach. These parts can actually rip the metal mounting points out of the body. I've owned my E46 for several years; the common issues were all resolved before I bought the car, and I have no complaints. Understand that anything having to do with BMWs is usually complicated, and expensive. The E46 M3 is the same, but to some exponent. I suggest getting the VIN from the seller, then try to find a dealer who will run it through the BMW system to identify issues and repairs. If you're buying yourself a hot car to flog on the street or track, the M3 is the one to have. Unless you want a V8, then you just gotta get a 540i! Good luck.
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